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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

whether that good feeling is to be * cashed-in on * by the Soviet in an
amiable form, or turned to hatred of a great Power's effort against smaller
countries. In relation to Poland, we must remember that, while it is fair
to say, as the Noble Lord did,, that Poland might never have been freed if it
had not been for the military effort of Russia, it is also true to a large extent
that, if it had not been for Russia and her pact with Germany, the whole
Continent might never have been placed completely under the heel of
Germany, and France might not have collapsed as she did in the military
field.55
Commander Sir Archibald Soutfiby (Conservative) : " This is no
time for diplomatic casuistry. This is a time for plain and honest speaking
between leaders and between nations and, above all, it is a time for adherence
to the fundamental principles of justice and honour, no matter what such
adherence may cost.
 I intend to confine myself in the main to the consideration of the affairs
of Poland and of the three Baltic republics, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania,
so far as they concern us, because I believe our policy in respect of those
States must colour the whole of our outlook as regards foreign affairs. It
cannot be denied that not only Members of this House, but the general public
outside, are seriously perturbed regarding the existing relationships between
our two Allies, Russia and Poland, and between them and ourselves. It
would, I think, be fair to assume three things. Firstly, that the British
people consider that we went to war in the first instance to defend the in-
dependence of Poland; secondly, that Russia now desires to acquire by
negotiation, if possible, but otherwise by force majeure, certain portions of
Poland which she wants to add to Soviet territory; and, thirdly, that it has
been generally thought that we were, in some way, letting Poland down.
** . , , Recent events in Warsaw have served to stimulate public interest in
Polish affairs. On 1st August the heroic Poles rose against their German
oppressors. It has been most unfairly suggested in some quarters that the
rising was premature and unauthorised, but the fact is that the local com-
manders acted in accordance with general instructions, which had been
submitted both to President Roosevelt and to the Prime Minister, and the
Polish Prime Minister has stated that, on 31st July this year, he also informed
M. Molotov, the Russian Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Quite apart from
that, for months past, both from the Soviet-sponsored wireless station,
Kosciuszko, and in the broadcasts by the Union of Polish Patriots, appeals
were being made for an armed revolt against the Germans in Poland, and
attacks were being made on General Bor, who commands the Polish Army
in Warsaw on the grounds of his alleged inactivity. In June the Moscow
radio said that it was generally believed that the time to strike had come . . .
" . . . General Bor and his men went into action. Nobody could deny
that the rising benefited the advancing Red Army, because it delayed the
passage of German reinforcements on their way to the front. Unfortun-
ately, the Russian advance was held up by very heavy German resistance
from at least three panzer divisions. Surely one would have imagined that
every effort would then have been made to assist the Poles in Warsaw.
What they needed was arms, ammunition and food, and, yet in spite of
frantic appeals from General B6r and from the Polish Prime Minister and
Government in London, they were left to their own resources. It was not
until 15th or 16th August that bombers, manned by British, Polish and
South African crews, who had to fly a round trip of 1,750 miles, and who lost
21 out of 100 bombers, brought some succour to our hard-pressed Allies in
Warsaw. Since then, thank God, assistance has gone to Warsaw both from
usj the Russians and Americans.
337